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BMA tells GPs to follow own judgment in prescribing antiflu drugs

BMJ 2015; 350 doi: http://dx.doi.org/10.1136/bmj.h365 (Published 20 January 2015) Cite this as: BMJ 2015;350:h365
  1. Deborah Cohen
  1. 1The BMJ

“Prophylactic antiviral prescribing for flu? Nobody can compel you to do it, but nobody can advise you not to either,” Andrew Green, chair of the BMA General Practitioners Committee’s clinical and prescribing subcommittee has told GPs.

The BMA’s intervention in the use of oseltamivir to prevent flu in elderly people in nursing homes comes after heated discussions between GPs and Public Health England over the evidence base for the drug.

Public Health England is recommending the prophylactic use of oseltamivir, particularly among elderly residents of nursing homes, and the Department of Health gave the go-ahead to use the drug at the end of last year, as circulating levels of flu began to rise. However, Paul Roblin, chief executive officer of the medical committee representing GPs in Berkshire, Buckinghamshire, and Oxfordshire, wrote to GPs in his area to warn of insufficient evidence for use of the drug in people without symptoms.1

Last week, representatives of Public Health England and NHS England countered that move by writing to GPs to clarify what they perceived to be the evidence for the use of oseltamivir. GPs …

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